A Period of Transition: The 2020 Mazda CX-30 AWD Premium

Front 3/4 view of 2020 Mazda CX-30 Premium
The 2020 Mazda CX-30 Premium.
What's Mazda up to?  That's not a question I usually find myself asking.  But then, Mazda has never done this before---slotted a crossover into the very thin space between the compact CX-3 and midsize CX-5.

Rear 3/4 view of 2020 Mazda CX-30 Premium

First of all, the name.  Mazda used to sell a CX-7 that was somewhere between the then-non-existent CX-5 and the fullsize CX-9.  So, if you're slotting a vehicle between the CX-3 and the CX-5, why wouldn't it be a CX-4?   Turns out Mazda already sells a vehicle called the CX-4 in China, so a new name was a given.

Compared to the CX-3 and the CX-5, the biggest differences are that the CX-30 gets more black plastic cladding and a steeper rake to the rear window.  It's a good looking machine.

Hood up on 2020 Mazda CX-30 AWD Premium

Engine in 2020 Mazda CX-30 AWD Premium

Under the hood, it's Mazda's famililar 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G four-cylinder with 186 horsepower mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.  EPA fuel economy estimate 25 city/32 highway.  It's the same powerplant that's in the 300-pounds heavier CX-5, but it felt more sluggish in the CX-30 we tested.  Frankly, it's time for a turbo and more gears.

Interior view of 2020 Mazda CX-30 AWD Premium

Rear seat in 2020 Mazda CX-30 AWD Premium

Front seats in 2020 Mazda CX-30 AWD Premium

Mazda CX-30s start at $21,900, but ours was the top of the line AWD Premium model.   Ours also came with a window sticker with no prices on it, but Mazda's online build tool shows the price for that as $29,600, with a boatload of standard equipment:

  • Leather-trimmed seats
    • Adaptive Front-lighting System
    • Rear Power Liftgate23
    • Full-color Active Driving Display
    • SKYACTIV VEHICLE DYNAMICS with G-Vectoring Control Plus
    • i-ACTIV AWD® all-wheel drive with Off-road Traction Assist
    • EPA-estimated mileage city/highway (mpg): 25/327
    • Windshield projected full color Active Driving Display
    • Signature LED headlight and taillight illumination
    • Adaptive Front-lighting System
    • Leather-trimmed sport seats
    • Power sliding-glass moonroof with one-touch-open feature and interior sunshade
    • Paddle shifters
    • Rear power liftgate23
    • Roof rails
    • Body-colored folding, power side mirrors with integrated turn signals and memory positioning
    • Front grille in glossy finish
    • 8-way power driver's seat with power lumbar support and 2-position memory
    • Heated front seats
    • Bose® 12 speaker premium audio system with Centerpoint® 2 and AudioPilot®
    • SiriusXM® Satellite Radio with 3-month trial subscription22
    • Gloss-painted speaker grille
    • Overhead console with sunglasses holder
    • Dual illuminated vanity mirrors
    • Roof-mounted "shark fin" antenna
    • 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels with P215/55 R18 all-season tires
    • Body-colored folding, power side mirrors with integrated turn signals
    • Dual-zone automatic climate control system
    • Rear air-conditioning vents
    • Leatherette-trimmed sport seats
    • Leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear selector
    • Rear seat center armrest with cupholders
    • Apple CarPlay™ integration20
    • Android Auto™ integration20
    • Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry System
    • Blind Spot Monitoring System with Rear Cross Traffic Alert18
    • Rear privacy glass
    • 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels with P215/65 R16 all-season tires
    • Body-colored folding, power side mirrors
    • LED headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights
    • LED combination taillights
    • Auto on/off headlights
    • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
    • Front grille in matte finish
    • 5-passenger seating
    • Cloth-trimmed sport seats and door inserts
    • Adjustable headrests in all seating positions
    • Front passenger seatback pocket
    • 60/40 split fold-down rear seatback
    • Air conditioning
    • Power door locks - speed sensitive auto door locks
    • Power windows with one-touch up/down feature
    • Remote keyless entry system
    • Push button start
    • Front center console armrest with covered storage compartment
    • Front door storage pockets with bottle holders
    • 12-volt power outlet
    • Electronic parking brake
    • Steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise control switches
    • Front map lights and cargo area light
    • Vinyl-covered sun visors with extensions
    • 7-inch LCD Meter Display
    • MAZDA CONNECT™ Infotainment System4
    • - 8.8-inch large center display
    • - Mobile 911 automatic emergency notification8 
    • - HD Radio™
    • - Infotainment system voice command
    • - Multifunction Commander control
    • - Pandora® internet radio integration
    • - Radio Broadcast Data System program information
    • - SMS text message audio delivery and reply
    • - Mazda Connected Services5
    • 8-speaker audio system with Mazda Harmonic Acoustics
    • Bluetooth® hands-free phone and audio streaming9
    • 2 USB audio inputs
    • Advanced dual front air bags10
    • Front seat mounted side-impact air bags and side-impact air curtains10
    • Driver's and front passenger's knee airbags10
    • 3-point safety belts for all seating positions
    • Front safety-belt pretensioners with force limiters
    • Whiplash-reducing front seat headrests
    • Anti-lock Brake System with Electronic Brake Force Distribution & Brake Assist
    • Dynamic Stability Control11 with Traction Control System
    • Rearview camera12
    • Smart Brake Support13
    • Lane Departure Warning14
    • Lane-keep Assist15
    • Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop & Go16
    • High Beam Control
    • Driver Attention Alert17
    • Engine-immobilizer antitheft system
    • Keyless remote panic button feature
    • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
    • LATCH child safety seat anchors & upper tethers
    • Child safety rear door locks
    Front view of 2020 Mazda CX-30 AWD Premium

    Rear view of 2020 Mazda CX-30 AWD Premium

    And, that's that, apart from the Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint that it seems nine out of ten Mazdas are painted in these days.  That's a $595 option.  So, with $1,100 destination fee, the bottom line on the window sticker would read $31,295 (if it had numbers).

    That's a fine price for a fine car.  Mazda's upscale interiors and handling dynamics have been winning us over for as long as we've been reviewing cars (23 years).  But, as said before, this one could use a bit more effortless oomph.  The turbo 2.5-liter in the CX-9 makes 227 horsepower and in this package, that could feel amazing.